Canned openers & routine stacks are useful for 2 main reasons.

  1. If you have AA and start to freeze up, they are in your back pocket waiting
  2. When you don’t have to think too much about what you are saying (because you have practiced this stack so many times) you can use the extra brain CPU power to focus on other things that you need to work on. e.g. Body language and posture, vocal projection and tonality, eye contact, hand gestures, facial expressions, and maybe most important= reading the energy of the person you are conversing with. Are they responding positively/negatively etc…

When I first read Neil Strauss’s THE GAME, 13 years ago, I think I hated every single routine it contained. I felt like they either were incongruent with me, just not cool, odd, and some seemed even straight up creepy!
I did however instantly understood the formula behind them and manufactured my own, which mostly sucked. It took a solid few months of going out in field and testing them 3-4 nights a week, and then nightly debriefs to really get things solid.
It wasn’t until a few years later that I was teaching that I came across this opener. I was on stage at a big seminar in Hollywood, and had finished my talk and opened the floor for questions. One of the guys asked me what I thought about “The 5 Ocean opener”. I told him I wasn’t familiar with it and to demo it on me, which then turned into him just asking me if I could name all 5 oceans. To be 100% honest, before I started to respond, my inner voice was saying to myself “what a fucking stupid opener”, but then….THEN it clicked! I rattled off 4 of them…but the 5th one…that took me a few seconds. Before I even finished answering I shook my head up and down approvingly and said, “WOW that could actually be a REALLY good one”!
It’s so simple, so dumb, so out of left field, I thought it could be gold…. well after I polished it up.
When doing 1on1’s this is the indirect canned opener I give my students because I KNOW it works so well. This opener is so basic, so easy to remember, and I have never heard of anyone get called out by it. (Which is a big fear new guys have), every single person in set gets into it when they realize they don’t know the answer either.


So here are 2 versions of it, feel free to modify them and make them your own.

  • “Hey guys I know this might be the weirdest question you get asked all night, but I need some help. On the drive over here on the radio, they were doing that ‘are you smarter than a 5th grader thing’ and asked a question, not ONE person could answer it correctly, and I didn’t hear the final answer, and it’s driving me crazy not knowing, like when you hear a song and can’t remember who sings it, but anyways,the question they asked was, what are the names of the five oceans”?

“I know I know, it’s stupid, but I could only think of four.”
With this tactic, ripping on how stupid the question is before anyone else can, it is now out there and once I started preemptively ripping on it, no one said it was a dumb question. I also added the song part, because everyone knows how annoying that feeling is, and then can relate to my problem. By also saying I could think of 4, so ego comes into play. Those who want to 1up you will jump in and try to do what you couldn’t. Some will say there are only 4, which then I call an audible and turn that into a fun little bar bet. But almost every single time people just start trying to name them without any extra help.

Here is the tighter/faster version I mostly have guys run nowadays

  • “Hey guys real quick, I need your help to win a bar bet with my friend over there, can you name all of the 5 oceans, off the top of your head”?

***If you are up to speed on your Pick Up intel, you will know why each part is worded in that order, except for maybe the last part. I never had the issue, but student after student did, so we added a modifier at the end. It sets the rules so they don’t just pull out their smartphone and google the answer.
At this point people will begin to name off some oceans. They will repeat names, or say things like the “Mediterranean Sea” or “The Gulf of Mexico” I then always point out that is a SEA or part of an ocean that they already said.
So far I have NEVER heard anyone correctly name all five, to me or to a student. (which just shows you have bad our school system is!!!…actually that’s a fun little line I toss in sometimes too)
So after they are stumped I will say something like.
“Actually guys, I have a confession to make, I actually looked this up on my iPhone a few minutes ago. I felt like an idiot for not knowing them, but thanks to you guys I don’t feel alone or so dumb anymore HAHA”! -which usually gets a laugh and helps build rapport. Then I they will either ask me or I will volunteer the names of the oceans so we can move on.
Sometimes you give them multiple oceans that they left out, but usually I end up just having to tell them about the Southern Ocean, which I am shocked that so many people have never heard of. Many times everyone looks around and says “THE SOUTHERN”???
-I always try to repeat them back in the order they gave them, then add the ones they left out at the end
“Ya the Southern! I actually would have accepted the Antarctic Ocean as well, they actually changed the name of it to Southern and made it official. It’s stupid that they changed something like that which we all learned in grade school!”
Now the opener has successfully done its job, it OPENED. Once you get good at opening you quickly realize that opening is the hardest step for most, but the least important. What you say NEXT is always more important!!

I am still working on my next Podcast which is about OPENERS, but wanted this up on the blog so it was easy to find for everyone, forever.
You can technically open with almost anything, I have opened (and gotten very fun dates) without saying a word, just winking and smiling. This opener is just such a tried and true one, that like I said, if guys need one during a coaching, this is usually the one I have them run. It is very flexible and fluid. You can modify it for almost any environment and any audience, you just have to tweak your root and follow up.
Let me know if you have any questions and I will gladly help you out/clarify anything.
I hope she serves you as well as she has to countless guys all around the world!
Oh and this also works great as a fun BAR BET!

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